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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Raising the Brandeis Bar

Published: September 1, 2006
Section: Opinions

I have finally entered my last year of college, and for this I am grateful. I am not planning on going to grad school (although who knows when my confidence that Ill find a job right out of school will waver), so as of right now, this is it. After 19 consecutive back-to-school Septembers, this is my last.
The reason for my delight is not because I am sick and tired of the perpetual cycle of classes, papers, reading and exams. Actually, I am. But I have been for years now, and I am sure many of you are, too. Mainly I am glad the end is near because, if I were applying to colleges now, Im not so sure Id be able to get in.
A while back, Brandeis students received an e-mail profiling the new freshman class. Every year we get one of these, and every year, it is evident that the universitys standards are rising. SAT scores are going up;

GPAs are higher. There are more and more scholarships being offered to lure in the best applicants.
Brandeis is accepting students who are smarter, more motivated and more prepared than ever. Hooray for that. But still it makes me wonder, why do college applicants annually seem to be getting smarter, their applications heftier? Lately, a number of articles have been popping up about the increasingly-rigorous standards for adequate college preparation. I thought we were overdoing it when I was in high school. Apparently, that was nothing.
4 APs, community service and a spot on the varsity soccer team no longer cuts it for some highly-driven teenagers. I read that it is a new trend for high schoolers to have internships as early as tenth or even ninth grade. Now I am feeling threatened by 15 year olds. Super.
Of course it is a good idea to start thinking about your future early, but it seems like teenagers are being forced to study harder and participate in more extra-curriculars than ever before. I took a few upper-level courses, worked on the yearbook and got good grades. End of story. I have a distinct feeling that some of the resumes on these kids could clobber mine. Brandeis might not be so ready to accept me these days. After all, I did just have my first internship this past summer.
True, its all about getting a leg up, and I cant blame kids for doing what they have to do. Still, I dont think there is anything wrong with a more moderate approach to it all. Hey, if you ask your parents, theyll probably tell you that their college prep consisted of pep rallies and milk shakes after the big game. And they turned out all right. As my college career reaches its final quarter, I am just glad I was able to get through while the stakes were still reasonable.
That being said, congratulations and welcome to the class of 2010! Evidently, you guys made it through a difficult process, and in doing so, many of you perhaps had to achieve more than I did only a few years ago. But dont worry, the classes of 11, 12 and 13 will have to do even more. And then youll be the ones who will feel dumb as seniors.